The Worst of Evils

  • by Thomas Dormandy
  • Narrated by Derek Perkins
  • 20 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This riveting audiobook takes the listener around the globe and through the centuries to discover how different cultures have sought to combat and treat physical pain. With colorful stories and sometimes frightening anecdotes, Dr. Thomas Dormandy describes a checkered progression of breakthroughs, haphazard experiments, ignorant attitudes, and surprising developments in human efforts to control pain.
Attitudes toward pain and its perception have changed, as have the means of pain relief and scientific understanding. Dr. Dormandy offers a thoroughly fascinating, multicultural history that culminates with a discussion of today's successes - and failures - in the struggle against pain. The book's exploration is fused with accounts of the development of specific methods of pain relief, including the use of alcohol, plants, hypnosis, religious faith, stoic attitudes, local anesthesia, general anesthesia, and modern analgesics. Dr. Dormandy also looks at the most recent advances in pain clinics and palliative care for patients with terminal disease, as well as the prospects for loosening pain's grip in the future.

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What the Critics Say

"The Worst of Evils is a valuable addition to studies in the history of pain and is recommended for both general readers and scholars." (New England Journal of Medicine)
"Under Dormandy's masterful hand, the story of surgical anesthesia unfolds like a Wagnerian opera, complete with convoluted plotline and tragic heroes." (San Diego Union-Tribune)
“This is a remarkable history…of an important aspect of illness and medicine [and] this is an excellent read.” (Professor Lewis Wolpert, Camden New Journal)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Medical history a story in itself

Yes what is not to like with an historical look at gains over physical pain.
Suffering writ large would be a far too difficult multifaceted subject I would think to cover in 20 or so hours, so emphasis on physical pain makes for solid history.

And of course physical pain is more at a doctor or druggist's command nowadays, and so Dormandy glides through progress over time back in the day when one had to be tied to the bed during an operation, and further back than that, to put some perspective on matters.

Drugs galore covered. People testing them in trial and error mode. And it is soothing to think back now over all the types of pain relief mentioned.
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- Stephen

A must listen for anyone in the pain business or addictions treatment.

As an anesthesiologist and in the business of treating pain for the past 35 years I can highly recommend this book. The performance by Mr. Perkins is excellent and adds depth to the multiple times and cultures that play on the history of pain. I would argue with only a very few of the recent facts but that likely reflects only on my understanding. An incredible book and very enjoyable. Couldn't stop listening!
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- Rodney

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-15-2013
  • Publisher: University Press Audiobooks